Price: $995 per pair
Ian said: If you’re looking for a pair of high-resolution loudspeakers for a desktop, credenza, or wall unit in the den, the Audience ClairAudient One offers great sound and excellent build quality, and it unassumingly vanishes into its surroundings.
The gist: Add one more computer-oriented mini to the crowded field.
Price: $2790-$4167.60 per pair
Oliver said: Axiom deserves a gold medal -- or, better still, a Reviewers’ Choice award -- for how much sonic goodness they’ve packed into the wonderful M100. That they’re able to do so for a starting price of only $2790/pair is wondrous indeed. The Axiom M100 stands as one of the best-balanced reasonably priced speakers I’ve heard.
The gist: Driver-packed large floorstander that costs less than you’d think.
Price: $1150 per pair
Doug said: All told, B&W offers high value with the 684 S2 -- the reason shoppers have long gravitated toward the company’s various 600 series. But I recommend that prospective buyers first listen to this new model with familiar music, to determine if it’s the right speaker for them.
The gist: Pretty good, just not great like you would hope.
Price: $2695 per pair
Philip said: While the Mini T’s appearance is so-so, its sound is anything but. The Mini Ts’ unerring neutrality, great soundstaging, and ability to play ridiculously loudly without breaking up and distorting will tick all the right boxes for many music lovers, and will likely attract new customers to the brand.
The gist: Plays loud and clean -- the perfect rock speaker.
Price: $549 per pair
Doug said: I highly recommend Cambridge Audio’s Aero 2. For its combination of high performance and value, it’s a frontrunner for one of our Product of the Year awards, to be announced at the end of this year.
The gist: Innovative driver design delivers in this perky little speaker.
Price: $399 per pair
Vince said: I have no hesitation in recommending the Inclines to anyone who wants a high-quality computer speaker system, or as the main system for a small bedroom or apartment. You won’t be disappointed.
The gist: Bipolar sound for your desktop.
Price: $4999.90 per pair
Roger said: Definitive Technology’s Mythos ST-L SuperTower elevates “lifestyle” speaker design to a new level of performance with its high resolution, clear and neutral midrange, and incredible dynamics. A true high-end design in every respect, it should hold its own against any speaker near its price, and even against some that cost considerably more.
The gist: What a looker, with great sound to match.
Price: $1500 per pair
Vince said: The Aria 906 is packed with Focal’s latest driver technology, and the results are fantastic. I was smitten by the Arias’ huge soundstage, neutral midrange, and beautifully rendered highs. This bookshelf punches above its weight, and compares favorably with other well-regarded speakers, even above its price range.
The gist: Flax is good for you -- in more ways than one.
Price: $1800 per pair
Philip said: With the Gold GX50, Monitor Audio has produced another fine loudspeaker. It possesses all the hallmarks of the Monitor house sound, along with incisive detail and tight, punchy bass. I found myself drawn to listen to voices through these speakers -- their midrange reproduction was very natural and open, and their ability to produce a well-defined, precise soundstage was outstanding.
The gist: All the attributes you'd want in a small Monitor speaker, and then some.
Price: $1500 per pair
Philip said: This is a speaker for the long haul -- one that you can set up and forget. After living with them for a while, I can say that this British speaker is the perfect solution for someone who cares about good sound, but who views a stereo as a means to an end -- music -- rather than an end in itself.
The gist: Philip really liked the Silver 6es.
Price: $3290 per pair
Philip said: If you’re looking for a pair of stand-mounted speakers that can image extremely well but worry that you might not get deep enough bass from anything less than a floorstander, you should audition the MM de Capo BEs. At the very least, you’ll probably be surprised by how big they sound; and you may even find yourself owning the latest and, very possibly, the best iteration yet of a classic design.
The gist: Best version yet of this iconic standmount speaker.
Price: $3500 per pair
Doug said: If I had $3500 to spend on a pair of speakers right now, I’d buy a pair of Performa3 F206es over all others -- I love the speaker’s top-to-bottom neutrality, and especially its magical midrange, which did something special with voices. I also liked the way the review pair looked in my room, and appreciated the topnotch quality of their build and finish.
The gist: Doug’s fave at the price point.